Kyphosis: Its Types and Treatment

Kyphosis is defined as an excessive curvature in the upper part (thoracic or part of the chest) of the spine.

In most people who suffer from this condition, these curves of the upper spine are formed forward briefly, but sometimes they can also manifest towards the back of a more rounded than normal. It is a fairly common condition that affects teenagers and young adults.

What causes kyphosis?

Kyphosis occurs when the vertebrae in the upper back take on a wedge shape, causing the spine to curve forward more than usual. The Postural kyphosis is the most common form, which tends to occur in teenagers. As the name implies, this curve is due to bad posture and becomes more evident during the adolescent growth spurt. It is more common in boys than girls.

Cifosis de Scheuermann

It usually occurs during a period of rapid growth and is when the back of the vertebrae of the upper column grows faster. On an x-ray, the vertebrae, instead of observing them as rectangular building blocks, are embedded in the front of the column.

Congenital kyphosis is rare, but it occurs when a baby is born with an abnormal spine. The spine has not developed properly and the curve may get worse as the child grows.

What are the signs and symptoms of kyphosis?

In most cases, the curvature of the spine is minimal and the kyphosis is barely perceptible. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the back. Severe cases of the disease can lead to other health problems. The child may have pain and have difficulty breathing.

How is kyphosis usually diagnosed?

A doctor will observe the curvature of the spine by physical examination. An x-ray will confirm the diagnosis and know the extent of the kyphosis. This will help determine what type of treatment is necessary.

How is kyphosis treated normally?

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and their cause. Physiotherapy is offered for postural kyphosis in order to help improve posture. A corset is sometimes used for patients with Scheuermann kyphosis and in some cases congenital to support their back as they grow. Severe cases in young children with congenital kyphosissometimes need surgery. This corrective surgery is called spinal fusion and involves inserting metal bars into the spine to keep it in a straight position.

What happens next?

Kyphosis caused by bad posture usually improves with time. In most cases, children or adolescents respond well to physiotherapy. Even children who require surgery often grow up without significant restrictions and can lead a normal life.